When I began developing my website in the mid and late 90s, I was advised to keep things “separate” more or less by subject: animal artwork, graphic design, photography, writing and so on. This was partly for professional reasons. As a freelancer, potential clients would find or view my website, focused on a task they would want to hire me for, not wanting to dig through all my many inspirations to find what they wanted. In fact, all those inspirations could be a detriment because I could look fragmented or just too busy to focus on their work. This is, of course, not true, but I built my pre-blog website of five parts: fine art and portraiture, graphic design and illustration, professional and creative writing, photography, and marketplace online store.
Today I still have the remnants of that organization in the parts of my old HTML website which I still use, but I also began using blog templates and then set up blogs themselves as soon as I could begin to use them. With the work of caring for my mother and brother I didn’t have the time to convert and rebuild my older sites, and even had a task learning the blogging platform with all else that was going on, so my blogs only include what is new from that time.
I’m not sure if I will ever combine all these interests into one big site. I am currently building a self-hosted marketplace for all my art and merchandise, and I just have to see what ends up as part of that.
But for now I’d like to share another blog that is also meaningful to me, the one I call Today: an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry • prose. This began from the need to share photos I was taking as each day I found something I wanted to share, and beyond that it was also intended to showcase new works words and art media, and to give me another place to write in addition to The Creative Cat. For the most part it is still photography, and that still makes me very happy, but I also feature new poems when the inspiration strikes, and older poems every week or so, and I’m finally getting around to those weekly essays I’d intended to write while caring for my mother.
Just about every day I experience something that I need to share as I tend my garden, run my business, visit places in my hometown and beyond. Often, this includes a photograph or perhaps a sketch of a wildflower in bloom in my yard, a bird I see along the trail, snow falling on Main Street, the view from a bus window as I cross the river into town…sometimes it even includes an essay or poem. I’ve never been good at keeping a journal unless you count the piles of papers stashed here and there through the years, but in any case it’s a pleasure to share those little moments of my world.
It all started with a Pentax K1000
I purchased my first Pentax K1000 in 1983 and began photographing in black and white. I’ve been hooked ever since carrying that poor thing with me everywhere, purchasing new lenses and gadgets now and then. I never really had the time to sit down and study photography, but those years of slow, diligent experimentation and studying the results were the best way for me to learn how to take a picture.
I had been photographing mostly for images to paint later in my studio, but I’m also a graphic designer and once the world started publishing everything in living color sometime in the mid-90s, I realized I had images that in some categories were as good as the ones I was purchasing at a pretty steep price.
I have years worth of negatives to scan, and I’ve still got that Pentax K1000, but now I’ve moved to digital and displaying photos is so streamlined. I hope you’ve enjoyed browsing, and stop back soon to see the newest photos.
Much of my photography is of nature and landscape, garden and flowers, and wildlife, subjects I know most readers of The Creative Cat also enjoy from the response to “Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat”. I also feature new paintings and sketches there that are not feline-themed. I keep a widget at the bottom of the right column of this blog that shows the most recent three posts, and I thought I’d take the time today, seeing some of my posts from this past week or so, to share those posts here. Today’s post is the poem “Feverfew”, which I’ve included here, and below that is a list of links to other posts. Feel free to sign up for posts from Today if it seems to include things you enjoy.
Poem for Saturday: Feverfew
Do flowers make us happy? Especially those little smiling faces of daisies and daisy-like flowers? Used to represent a universal flower type, little white flowers with yellow centers and a circlet of white petals have always been recognized as symbols of innocence and childhood.
I’m a sucker for a little white flower, be it chamomile or a daisy or an aster or…feverfew, even the mounds of it that take over sections of my garden every summer. It’s a native wild plant in my area and once it gets a root in the soil nothing can stop it. Yet it looks as delicate and happy and innocent as a flutter of butterflies.
Through the years caring for my mother and brother, money woes and running my business, the coming in and sadly, leaving, of members of my feline family have tended to pull me deeper into myself until I can’t get past myself to my creative self that is totally unaware of all these daily things. Sometimes when I’m weighed down by everything around me, a trip to the garden and seeing little smiling flower faces dotted with dew can awaken my creative senses and lift the weight off my shoulders—and a good thing because I need all my strength and balance to run around with my camera and sketchbook. A trip to the garden in the morning pulls me out of that space for just enough time that I can reach that creative self in time for another day’s work in my studio, and my kitchen, and around my house as I smile back at all those little happy faces covered with dew and suddenly see photos and paintings and fabric designs and, for the moment, forget anything else.
Oh, I can’t stop looking at all the feverfew
in my garden,
I just keep running from one cluster to another
those tiny perfect daisies
in umbels as if floating without stems
on waves of bright green leaves
the dots of dew flashing, sparkling
in the day’s new sun
just arrived over the horizon
its color still warm and yellow
as if it’s a cookie just taken out of the oven
and I have to look at all the feverfew
from every angle
until I’m done looking
and I discover I’ve forgotten all the problems of yesterday
and all the ills of the world that I feel the need to carry
and I’m laughing
and dripping with dew myself
and visualizing stunning works of art
and amazing poetry and prose
most of which will ever be realized
nor do they need to be
the inspiration only needs to settle into my soul in this early morning in June
and its glow will warm heart
and keep me laughing with joy
through the day
and the next
and the next.
Poem “Feverfew” by Bernadette E. Kazmarski © 2008, may not be reproduced in any way without express written permission of the author. Links to this blog are fine.
I read this poem at my 2008 poetry reading at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall which you can read in Paths I Have Walked, outlined below. Also visit the writing section of my website to read more poetry and see more art and photos.
I’m proud to offer a folio of my poetry
Paths I Have Walked: the poetry and art of Bernadette E. Kazmarski
FROM FOUR ANNUAL POETRY READINGS AT ANDREW CARNEGIE FREE LIBRARY & MUSIC HALL IN CARNEGIE, PA
People who attended one or more of my poetry readings encouraged me to publish some of my poetry in a book from the beginning.
Once I completed my 2010 poetry reading, my fourth featuring the final piece of artwork in the “Art of the Watershed” series, I decided it was time to publish something and it should be those four poetry readings.
Poetry books are not best-sellers; it’s difficult to convince a publisher to risk effort on a beginning poet, and while self-publishing is the best option it’s not inexpensive and once you’ve got the book, someone’s got to market it. Plus, I’m a graphic designer and I designed books for years, and I want things my way.
All of this is a recipe for a little bit of trouble, but I decided the book was well worth the effort so I designed the book myself and had a set printed—no ISBN or anything formal, but it’s a start! I’m really excited to offer it.
Books are 4.25″ x 11″, 40 pages of information and poetry, with glossy covers featuring “Dusk in the Woods” and little thumbnails of all four pieces in “Art of the Watershed”.
$8.00 each plus $2.50 shipping (they are oversized for mailing first class).
About the books and the poetry readings
My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.
In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I was astonished to find my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers.
My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor.
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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
Do you appreciate the stories and images we offer you each day?